Author Topic: First attempt  (Read 2079 times)

DwWin

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First attempt
« on: May 31, 2006, 07:26:05 AM »
Most major towns or cities around the world can lay claim to their own history of music and Stavanger in Norway is no exception to this rule. So, it really should be no surprise that, in the after-wash of the Celtic revival, folk groups such as the Tramps and the Stavanger Harbour Folk Band came to the fore with both contemporary and traditional folk music.
   While groups such as the Tramps concentrated on concerts and CD releases, which resulted in several tracks in the Norwegian charts, the Stavanger Harbour folk band have been the resident group at the Irishman public house for the past five years and in the beginning had been quite happy with a local following.
   The Stavanger Harbour Folk Band is the fourth band to hold the resident spot at the Irishman pub in Stavanger; the present members come from England, Ireland, Norway and Scotland. While the three previous resident bands in the Irishman were all well liked (Fiddler’s green, The Black Velvet Band and The Kerry Recruits) and were also well received by the patrons at the Irishman, people and music tend to move on. There is a thread that can be followed from Fiddlers’ Green to The Stavanger Harbour Folk Band in the form of John Dunn (guitar and vocals), who is the only musician to have played in all the bands. Although, during these transformations, the overall sound has undergone what can only be described as a natural evolution.
   By the summer of 1999, as the popularity of The Stavanger Harbour Folk Band increased, they were more or less forced into the recording studio. Their first CD, “All for Me Beer and Tobacco”, consisted mainly of live recordings made at the Irishman. This way the listener got to feel a little of the atmosphere and audience enthusiasm that surrounds the group. This was followed up in the summer of 2001 when they were asked to be the supporting band for the Dubliners in The Sjøhuset, Stavanger.
   Last year they were asked for the first time to perform at the Skagen folk festival in Denmark, and found themselves on the same bill as Donavan, Paul Young, The Dubliners, the Hell Fire Club and many other bands of varying notoriety.
   The band themselves thoroughly enjoyed the venue and were so well recived that the organisers have invited them back again in 2005. Regrettably, the dates this year for the Skagen festival clash with a previous commitment for the Stavanger Harbour Folk Band and they will be unable to attend.
   However, they will be appearing at the folk festival in Irvine, Scotland, as a follow up to their first appearance there last year. The connection being that this is the hometown of Kath, the wife to Richard Harris (lead guitar, Mandolin and vocals). This year the venue takes place between ………, and the author knows that there will be a small following travelling from Norway to support their “home town boys”.
   With the release of their second CD at the end of 2004, “Still sailing along”, they have brought fresh life to sixteen traditional songs as well as well as to some Irish jigs and Scottish reels. The members of the band, while coming from varied backgrounds and nationalities (English, Irish, Scottish and Norwegian), are brought together by their love of music. It is this love of music and song that shines through on their new CD and when combined with the natural “attraction” of Celtic music captures the hearts of the audience.
   The essence of Folk music has been described as “songs of the people by the people”. So, new songs are needed to keep folk music alive. On their first CD, The Stavanger Harbour Folk Band included four new songs.
   One written by the lead vocalist, Bill Woodcock, is in memory and honour of the merchant seamen who served on the Russian convoys during the Second World War. In 1985 the Russian government paid tribute to all merchant seamen, regardless of nationality, who had served on the North Atlantic convoys by awarding a medal. While thirty thousand merchant seamen died and three thousand ships were lost, much to Britain’s shame up until 2001Russia was the only country to officially recognise the contribution of the men of the merchant marine.

“It was only a ribbon in gratitude given
for brave service rendered a long time ago
For hardships endured and sacrifice suffered…..”

   In Britain, these medals were delivered to the recipients with a letter from the British Foreign office to the effect that these medals were not to be worn in public, i.e. on remembrance Sunday, due to the fact that the medal was considered a foreign award.
   While song and song writing is not the sole domain of the “Celtic people”, it does runs deep within them. Wherever in the world people of Celtic extraction find themselves, they are able to assimilate into the local community while retaining their heritage.
   However, it is the refrain from another of the new songs on the first CD, written by Richard Harris, that sums up the situation for lovers of traditional and contemporary folk music who find themselves on Norway’s fair shores; -

“Stavanger Harbour what a place boys what a place for a sailor to see
Stavanger Harbour what a place boys what a place boys to be”.

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: First attempt
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 06:06:10 PM »
Hiya

A nice overview of the band and a good biog - is it for your website?  Re Skagen - fantastic festival!  Loved it when we played there.  Did you visit the very tip and watch the oceans collide?  I think every one of us came away with a song or a tune in our hearts after that trip. 

Cheers
Carrie

(www.guido.rincon.dial.pipex.com)

DwWin

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Re: First attempt
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2006, 02:37:46 AM »
Thanks Carrie,

the Stavanger Harbour Folk Band are going to be back in Skagen this year and are also doing a gig in Canada. In August I'm to be the best man for a friend of mine in Norway and they will be playing at the reception.

I've loved folk music since I first got introduced to it one evening after we poped into a pub on our way back from a climb. Sad to say I am a "proffesional audience" as I cannot play any instrument and have a voice that would fear a banshee!

If you've been to Denmark did you get a chance to hear the Islanders? The lead singer, Chick, is a friend of mine and has contact with wolfstone, Runrig and others.

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: First attempt
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 01:53:42 PM »
Hiya - nope, missed the Islanders.  Been to Skagen a couple of times, always had a blast.

Where would us musos be without professional audience?  Keep on!   :)

Carrie